Electing Chief Constables

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Tazz, Aug 13, 2005.

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  1. Yes, they are doing wonderful job.

  2. No, they have their eyes on their future and to hell with Policing.

  1. Now that we have elections for just about everything these days from MPs to Bog attendents (oops same thing), shouldnt we adopt the American system of electing our sheriffs (in our case Chief Constables).

    Recently we have had that Labour stooge Sir Ian Blair showing support for Labour during an election campaign, and now we have this muppet Green and his green ribbons. Unfortunately these are typical of the majority of our Chief Constables, fast-tracked for having attended university but with as much idea of policing as Saddam has about his feminine side.

    Maybe we should elect these people for five year terms after they run a campaign declaring their aims (something controversial, like fighting crime might generate some interest), and only qualifying for a pension after serving say 2 terms. Obviously candidates need a law enforcement background, but your average police sergeant could be in with a chance and bring commonsense to the running of their forces, something totally lacking in these university/polytech clowns.

    Thoughts please.
  2. i think voting in chief constables would be a very bad idea look at the state of the commons and we voted all of them in
  3. Chief [local] Constables should be voted in by local people. If no good then get rid of and vote in someone who can do the job. Modernisation for mondernisations sake and pushed by central government has been a failure in most public walks of life from the NHS to the Plod and has allowed the PC Brigade to push their agenda at the expense [and I use the word advisedly] of the well being of the populace as a whole.
    mild rant [its Sunday] over.
  4. The police should remain neutral, would you let the public vote for chief of the defence staff? No because he'll work for votes and nothing else.

    If more scrutiny of policing is required why not have more public involvment in the local police authorities?
  5. The Americans elect Sherrifs don't they? Any idea how well that works?
  6. It seems to work pretty well in the US, since the vast majority of people want to get crime down, not fulfil diversity targets.

    Thus, to be elected, they run on a "tough on crime" platform. If they don't perform, they don't get re-elected.

    Sounds like a bloody good idea to me!
  7. Bunch of arrse. The various constabularies should be merged into a national Police Service, and the appointment to OC be meritocratic only. The last thing we need is a bunch of popularist choppers in charge of the rozzers; I don't want to get nicked under some byelaw for not having a burberry cap with my MG, or for going down the boozer whilst another loser gets binned from Big Brother XCVI...
  8. Isn't that the basis of democracy? the official to be elected does what the voters want in order to get elected.

    Voting local specialised officials in would be a far far better gauge of the peoples wishes than a general or local election. People tend to vote with historical and family trends when it comes to political parties whereas an elected official to the office of chief constable that was elected on policy alone as opposed to political allegiances would be a far fairer indication of the true will of the people.

    It will never happen though as Bliar would be terrified of people like us standing for office who decided to scrap 95% of speed cameras and traffic police (the revenue makers) in preference of locking up every scumbag on the streets.
  9. There are a number of points to consider before you take a view on whether directly-elected CC's are a good idea.

    Firstly, there is a tri-partite relationship here: The police service, the police authority and the Home Office. Although the CC is operationally independent (although this has been eroded courtesy of Mr. Blunkett) he has to take into account (1) HO diktat and (2) what his or her local police authority thinks. So even if you all voted in Attila The Cop, the "flog 'em and hang 'em" CC, he'd still be fairly hamstrung by the other two. As the saying goes, "threes a crowd." As we have seen, under New Labour central government has become the most powerful player in this realtionship (quel surprise!).

    Secondly, most CC's only serve about five years anyway. The younger ones are grooming their Tamagotchi mini-forces in an attempt to woo the HO before they make their bid for Commissioner of the Met ("My Preciousssss!!!"), but most of 'em are at the end of their careers. Police officers view them as ships that pass in the night, they rock up and make a few bone policy decisions, change where you sit on the wiring diagram then disappear. Meanwhile, the machine carries on chugging away, unless you are Mr. Green of Nottinghamshire who seriously hacked off his senior management team even before the "I can't deal with all the murders" and his Trendy Vicar stylee "Green Ribbon" affairs.

    Thirdly, what happens when, say, the BNP or Al-Muhajiroun or the People For Living In Trees Party win a few council wards somewhere and make the casting decision over who becomes CC? Cue Balkanisation of policing and the sort of petty vindictiveness that characterises local government hamstringing local cops. People will cry "but it's Democracy!" As somebody else said, let's vote for the CGS then.

    Our system of government, with the separation of powers, is being eroded by New Labour who have a centralizing tendency that betrays their origins as left-wing, command economy-inspired apparatchiks. They also, culturally, have an inherent mistrust of the Police, remembering all too well their Thatcherite bogeymen who crushed the miners and the last hurrah of the organised hard left in Britain. They aren't about to bring in any system that allows third parties to d*ck about with their powers to dictate what happens.

    We also don't have tiered policing. In France, for example, central government doesn't give much of a hoot what the municipal police in, say, Toulouse or Marseilles are doing: they have their Gendarmerie, Brigade Criminelle, DST etc as central law enforcement bodies to do their bidding. In the UK the police forces are responsible for national and local issues, something that might or might not change (the PCSO "Blair Scarecrow Project" is in my view the start of a slow process of evolution in this regard).

    So, what do I think? Beef up the police authorities as a powerful local voice that becomes a truly equal party in the troikas (troiki?) that make up policing in the UK. Make the chief of the authority directly-elected and give him some real (non-operational) powers to stand up to his CC and (especially) the Home Office.

    Interestingly, this was Tory policy at the last General Election, but nobody really took much notice as it isn't a very sexy subject.

  10. Really? Have you had a look at your local council recently? The political party bias hangs true there as well, despite what a few optimistic Lib Dems are saying. The elected CCs would come from the same source as our current elected members, ministers et cetera. Can you imagine what kind of a chief constable Bliar or TCH would have been? I must confess I think william Hague would have been quite good, especially as he wouldn't have needed issue of a helmet, he could just have painted his forehead blue..
  11. Yes but no but. What about a local authority in a city where there is a very large proportion of one ethnic group. Their members will control the police authority. Their agenda will direct the head of the authority. If the CC does object to something on good sound police/laura norder grounds, he will be deemed to be obstructive to the 'will of the people' and doubtless would go. Very few people go into positions where there is likely to be aggro so
    CC will become yes men. Back to - essentially - where we are now where promotion is seen as self-advancement and no element of public service.
  12. ^ I take your point, but in practice it doesn't work like that by virtue of geography and the strategic focus of Police Authorities. Let's take, for example, Greater Manchester Police. GMP is a bloody big force that has large minority ethnic communities. However, the Police Authority for the GMP covers the whole force area, not just Oldham (a place where there has been all sorts of community tension) or Didsbury (mainly white, affluent, middle-class). The make-up of the police authority should mirror that mix rather than one vocal pressure group. Unless the whole of the GMP force area votes the same way, that is.

    Look at a smaller force like Bedfordshire. That has, in Luton, a large Asian Muslim community but the force area also covers areas like Woburn Sands (for example). So Police Authorities aren't micro-steering committees for police (although local councils are now more involved in setting local policing priorities than ever before).

    The Left of course (with the Far Right playing Catch-Up) have always seen local agitation and the attempted hi-jack of local police consultative groups as a good tactic to pursue their agendas. As a rule, though, they don't make it onto the PA's. PA's deal with the big issues like policy, budgets, recruitment and of course appointing the Chief Constable (from an "approved list" from you guessed it the Home Office!).

    That's right: PA's are free to choose wohever they want as the CC as long as the HO says "Yes" first. Selection is via central-government sponsored courses like the Strategic Command Course, which an original thinker or radical is very unlikely to pass. Creeping managerialism in the senior police "officer corps" is probably best left for another rambling thread by me elsewhere!

  13. Thus, nothing - it's just too simplistic. And could be one of the reasons why 'civilised' America has still got horrific ways of killing people in the name of justice. US politicians/elected sheriffs appear to look 'tough' in the eyes of rednecks who want revenge or 'an eye for an eye'.

    If a good performance means banging people away for longer with no chance of rehabilitation, or killing them, let's not go down that ignorant road - and leave it to our navel-gazing American cousins
  14. Your cousins; my brethren. Thanks, Dad...
  15. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    Oh dear, Monsewer FP - as usual, when Democracy works in practice, you dont like it. If a community elects a sherriff to be tough on criminals, isn't that democracy in action?

    That's the trouble with democracy for the "people who know better" - too many poor / stuppid / ignorant people getting the vote - My Dear - the very idea!!!

    Democracy for you is only OK when it elects someone you like; otherwise, it's "mob rule".